Cutting across party lines, several councillors on Monday sought the reason for the delay in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) collecting betterment charges.
They wanted to know why the BBMP’s Revenue officials had failed to collect betterment charges even though the council had okayed it several months ago. The council has resolved to fix Rs. 200 per sq m for converted land in core areas and Rs. 250 per sq m for the same in newly added areas.
After a heated debate, Mayor B.S. Sathyanarayana suggested that the issue be discussed with Additional Chief Secretary, while Commissioner M. Lakshminarayan clarified that the BBMP could collect betterment charges only from single, undivided converted land.
When the councillors demanded that khata be given for divided and converted land, Mr. Lakshminarayan said BBMP could not issue khata for such land.
I. Ramakanth, Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) pointed out that for divided converted land and single sites, collection of betterment charges had to be integrated with the Akrama Sakrama scheme.
“However, Akrama Sakrama rules are yet to be framed. The High Court has directed the government to constitute the Bangalore Metropolitan Planning Committee to frame the rules for Akrama Sakrama,” he said and added that the BBMP had sought legal opinion in this regard.
Kacharakanahalli councillor Padmanabha Reddy alleged that the officials had illegally issued khata for around 5,000 acres of converted land in the city. “Had the BBMP officials collected betterment charges from the khata holders when it (khata) was issued, the civic body could have earned Rs. 500 crore,” he said.
Mr. Ramakanth claimed that those who obtained khata for converted land were submitting an affidavit stating that once the BBMP started collecting betterment charges, they would pay the same.
K. Chandrashekar, Hanumanthnagar councillor, pointed out that certain developers had obtained khata after submitting the affidavit to the BBMP. “The developers have constructed and sold flats in the land. Under these circumstances, from whom will the BBMP collect betterment charges? As per the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, the BBMP cannot collect the charges from citizens who have purchased housing units from these developers,” he pointed out.